OPINION

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Will infrastructure funding help our small towns?

Mineral Daily News-Tribune
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To the Editor:

How much of Biden’s $3.5 trillion budget plan is headed for Piedmont, or Westernport, or Keyser, or, for that matter, all small municipalities in the United States?  

Most of these economic agendas end up helping larger metropolitan areas.  I am sure in West Virginia, monies will be appropriated for the infrastructure of Corridor H and the New River Gorge Bridge, but what about in our area?

How about our small communities?  They are in desperate need of refurbishing as well.  

We need to live and function here day to day, for work, play, and our other activities of daily living. But just like they said in the Reagan years with trickle-down economics, “the money has to trickle down.”       

I have lived in Piedmont for a year now.  I notice some new improvements.  The sidewalk in front of the new West Virginia University Riverside Rural Health Clinic has been replaced and is very nice, but as someone who walks around the city, I think it should be extended up the block to the end of the street because that section is in poor repair.  In the center of town is a large lot that would make a beautiful park for people to walk, and especially for children to run, play, and get active, all important for their health and wellbeing.  Many properties in the town could be torn down or refurbished.  The city is working on adding a mural to the library building for beautification; I am excited to see that when it is completed.   

Same goes for Keyser, where I resided for 82 years of my life. There are well kept areas, but there are also many properties that need refurbished and improved as well. Throughout the downtown area, they have added several murals by local artists to exemplify the rich history of Keyser as an original railroad town. These add a great feeling of pride in our history.  

Keyser, and now Piedmont, are participating in the Hometown Hero Projects with signs to honor the heroes of our cities. In Keyser, they adorn the lampposts of the downtown area. In Piedmont, there are plans to add these signs on Ashfield Street, Second Street, and Third Street all the way back to the pool. These highlight the accomplishments of many individuals who contributed so much to our communities and way of life.  

I am glad to see that Allegany County is ready to invest $25 million in infrastructure, including water, sewers, and roads. I am sure they will need much more. At the small-town level, Lonaconing is to be commended – their citizens, using their own ingenuity, developed Lefty Grove Park to honor him and beautify their town. What a great accomplishment for their city. Other small municipalities should use them as an example.  

I agree, waiting for government funding to come our way is the easier way to make improvements… but that’s if it ever comes. In the meantime, communities, and we as individuals, can do a lot on our own to make our cities look and function better. Keeping streets and sidewalks clean is a must. Even if we can’t afford new streets, keeping potholes filled is an improvement as well.  If a porch or other structure needs replaced, we need to fix it; we can’t wait for it to fall down and injure someone. Simple things like keeping grass cut and weeds pulled also add to the look and feel of a town. Even adding small details to your home-front and yard contribute to the beautification of the city and show a sense of pride in our surroundings.   

In Piedmont, I am thankful that the city council is taking steps toward cleaning up sidewalks by passing ordinances prohibiting accumulation of trash on them.  In addition, I give Piedmont an A+ on beautifying the downtown area with flower tubs. Keyser also added flower baskets to its downtown which is an improvement. Things like this are inexpensive ways to make a town look better and add a welcoming feel to us as citizens and visitors to our communities.  

Waiting for the government’s help and infrastructure funding takes time and patience. In the meantime, there is so much we can do as citizens, especially if we all take accountability and pride in our communities.

So, think about this – what can you personally do to add to the beautification of your town?  Do your part in making improvements… It’s the best way to go to promote quality of life for all of us.